Presidential Search Committee for Easter replacement moves forward

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President Robert Easter

By Josh Winters

The Presidential Search Committee met on Wednesday to continue the University’s hunt for a new president.

“We’re looking for the best person in the country for this job,” said Douglas Beck, co-chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “I think we’re making good progress.”

Tom Hardy, University spokesman, said the committee is still considering over 100 candidates. He said they will likely announce who will replace current President Robert Easter by Thanksgiving.

The Board of Trustees will approve the new president at its January meeting, however, the new president won’t take over Easter’s role until July 1, 2015. 

The committee is also discussing the proposal of a raise for the position. Easter currently makes $552,375, including an annual bonus. Out of all salaries for presidents in the Big Ten, Easter’s falls in the bottom five. 

While the average salary for Big Ten presidents is $780,000, Hardy says the Board of Trustees will ultimately decide how much the new president will make.

Before the committee went into executive session to discuss prospective candidates for the position, Beck summarized the status of the search.

Since the committee met last in August, members have continued to reach out to prospective candidates as well as identify new prospects. Additionally, the Committee has considered suggestions from leaders in higher education.

One of these leaders, Parker Executive Search, is an executive search firm that specializes in recruiting senior executives for corporate, sports, higher education and academic health science positions.

Beck explained that Parker has continued to provide the Presidential Search Committee with lists of university presidents, chancellors, provosts, vice presidents and vice chancellors that could potentially be recruited as the University’s new president. Parker Executive Search also provided the committee with candidate lists from academia, government, businesses and NGOs.

Beck said that the next step in the search was to reach out to qualified candidates by establishing phone contacts. Parker Executive Search, Beck and Pamela Strobel, co-chair of the committee, have already reached out to several prospects who remain nameless. Beck said he believes phone contacts are instrumental in helping develop candidacies.

“The key thing, I think, for this process is to find a good fit, and that means having candidates think through the position and where they are in their careers,” Beck said. “Similarly on our side, we have to learn about the candidates and what their capabilities are and … decide for ourselves whether it’s a good fit.”

Josh can be reached at [email protected]